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Posts Tagged ‘Benedictine’

*As originally published in the Weekly Dig.

by Pink Lady

LUPEC ladies love our whiskey. And our whisky. (No, it’s not a typo: the spelling tells reflects the nationality of the spirit.) And we know, with its myriad rules nuances, the category can be confusing for the cocktail neophyte. In light of this, we offer you a whisk(e)y primer in several parts, turning our attention this week to rye.

Whiskey, in broad strokes, is grain spirit aged long enough in oak to take on characteristics of the barrel. Rye whiskey takes its name from main ingredient, rye, which by law must compose 51% of the grain in the mashbill. Rye is aged in charred, new American oak barrels like its corn-based cousins, bourbon and Tennessee whiskey, but has a lighter, and more peppery character. When considering the basic differences, think bread; as DrinkBoy.com founder Robert Hess says, “I’d never have a Rueben sandwich on cornbread.”

Rye whiskey was the favored spirit of colonial America, and was first made stateside by Scots-Irish immigrants who imported the grain. Despite the harsh Northeastern climate, hardy rye flourished, making it a perfect go-to ingredient for early American hooch.

Prohibition took a nasty toll on the American whiskey industry, and rye in particular had a tough time bouncing back. Even mainstream brands were difficult to find until recently. As cocktail nerds learned that classics like the Manhattan were originally prepared with rye, the spirit has surged back to in popularity. Brands like Old Overholt, Jim Beam and Sazerac are more common on back bars, and new interpretations of the category, like (ri)1 have even arrived, marketed as “ultra premium” brands positioned to win over vodka drinkers.

Rye also happens to be the base spirit for many New Orleans classics, which we are copiously imbibing at Tales of the Cocktail at present. Should you like to do the same, try one of these.

COCKTAIL A LA LOUISIANE

.75 oz. rye whiskey
.75 oz. Benedictine
.75 oz. sweet vermouth
3 dashes Herbsaint
3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Stir with cracked ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

CIN CIN!

 

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*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston, as originally published in the Weekly Dig.

by Pink Lady

It’s 1919, you’re a working class Italian chillin’ in North End neighborhood on a surprisingly balmy 40 degree winter’s day. Suddenly you hear a large rumbling, then rapid-fire shots reminiscent of a machine gun. The ground shakes as though a train is passing, and you look up just in time to see a massive wave of molasses twice as tall as you tearing towards you down the street. Before you know it, you’re swept away in the sweet smelling, sticky tide.

Sounds like a ridiculous plot for a B movie, right? But that totally happened 92 years ago this Saturday. A 50-foot tall steel tank containing 2.3 million gallons of molasses collapsed, flooding the North End with its contents, destroying wooden homes, a brick fire station, an Elevated Railway Car, and lifting a train off its tracks. The molasses wave measured 15-feet high at points and traveled at an estimated 35 mph at its outset.

The event was a catastrophe for the working-class Italian immigrant community that lived in the North End, where the poorly maintained tank was situated. A neighborhood decimated, 150 people injured, 21 people killed – the details of the Great Boston Molasses Flood are pretty shocking, even to disaster-weary modern minds. But the scandal surrounding the flood is a fascinating, David vs. Goliath story in itself that is deftly recounted in Stephen Puleo‘s Dark Tide.

119 separate legal claims were brought again United States Industrial Agriculture, which the Superior Court of Massachusetts decided to consolidate into a single legal proceeding, “creating in effect, if not by strict legal definition, the largest class-action suit to date in Massachusetts history and one of the largest ever in U.S. legal annals,” writes Puleo. USIA tried to blame anarchist bombers for the tank explosion, but were ultimately held responsible and paid hundreds of thousands of damages to North End residents.

Pick up a copy of Dark Tide to learn more and relax with one of these as you marvel at this obscure piece of Boston lore.

THE STUDEBAKER

2 oz Laird’s 7 ½ Year Apple Brandy

.5 oz Lillet

.5 oz Grand Marnier

.25 oz Benedictine

1 barspoon molasses

Stir with ice in a mixing glass. Serve in a chilled vintage cocktail glass.

Cin-cin!

 

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*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston, as originally published in The Weekly Dig.

by Pink Lady

Happy 500th birthday, Bénédictine! This mysterious liqueur was invented by a monk named Dom Bernardo Vincelli, in 1510.

Vincelli, a member of the order of Saint Benedict in the French abbey of Fécamp, experimented in alchemy—more than the process of turning metals into gold, a lesser known application of alchemy involved developing secret elixirs that are thought to help prolong life. This is how Bénédictine was born.

Like another favorite monk-made elixir of ours, Chartreuse, the recipe for Bénédictine was nearly lost in 1789 during the French Revolution and was rediscovered in 1863 by wine merchant Alexandre Le Grand. While sorting through some old family papers, Le Grand discovered a recipe book that had fallen into his family’s hands decades earlier when the last monk to leave the abbey of Fécamp gave them several of their most precious books. These tomes had been collecting dust in the library, unnoticed for decades.

Le Grand spent a year decoding the recipe, but was eventually able to re-create the elixir Vincelli had invented so long ago. Bénédictine is a bewitching blend of 27 different plants and spices, all proprietary, of course, and it became popular in the 1880s.

LUPEC was thrilled to host Bénédictine’s 500th birthday party at Franklin Southie last weekend. If you missed it, you can raise a glass of one of these at home, toasting five centuries in pursuit of long life.

Old No. 27

2 oz Plymouth Gin

0.5 oz Bénédictine

0.5 oz Combier

1 dash Fee Bros orange bitters

1 dash angostura bitters

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass. Stir and strain into a chilled vintage cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange peel.

CIN-CIN!

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*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston, as originally published in The Weekly Dig.

by Pink Lady

Though it won’t technically be fall for another week, we’ve already begun to seek stronger, spicier cocktails made with dark spirits for September sipping. One of our favorite potations among these is the bewitching blend of applejack, Yellow Chartreuse and Benedictine, called “The Widow’s Kiss.”

Invented by George J. Kappeler while he was head bartender at the Holland House hotel in New York City, The Widow’s Kiss combines the storied herbal liqueurs, Chartreuse and Benedictine, with applejack, likely America’s oldest distilled spirit. Both Chartreuse and Benedictine trace their origins to monastic orders in France (the former in the French Alps, the latter in Normandy) and both are made from closely guarded proprietary recipes that were nearly lost during the French Revolution. Perhaps you’ve overlooked the Chartreuse and Benedictine bottles on the back bar in favor of more aggressively marketed sweeteners, but these august brands have been produced for over 400 and 500 years, respectively. They’ve outlasted many a drinking fad, and many more enthusiastic drinkers.

The Widow’s Kiss was such a hit during Kappeler’s reign at the Holland House, it made it into all the major cocktail books, including his 1895 volume, Modern American Drinks. It also exemplifies a trend that began around the 1880s of American mixologists reaching beyond the maraschino, curaçao and crème de noyaux bottles for complex herbal liqueurs to build new palates of flavors as they created innovative recipes. That tradition lives on in a new generation of American bartenders today.

We’ll drink to that.

THE WIDOW’S KISS

1.5 oz applejack

0.75 oz Yellow Chartreuse

0.75 oz Benedictine

2 dashes angostura bitters

Shake in an iced cocktail shaker, as you recklessly break the cardinal rule of stirring cocktails that contain nothing but booze; strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

CIN-CIN!

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*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston, in case you missed ‘em in this week’s Dig.

by Pink Lady

Tales of the Cocktail is just around the corner, and the rank and file of LUPEC are beside ourselves with anticipation. This marks one of our favorite weeks of the entire year, when we join thousands of like-minded liquor nerds in descending upon New Orleans for five days devoted to the celebration of all things cocktail—history, preservation, technique … even hospitality behind the bar.

We wish we could take all of you down to NOLA for a few fabulous days of booze-filled revelry; in lieu of a plane ticket, we’ll offer a vicarious trip through LUPEC’s eyes (we are a charitable organization, after all). We suggest you start getting in the mood now by mixing up a Vieux Carré, a potation invented by Walter Bergeron in 1938 while he was head bartender at the Hotel Monteleone, the site of all the action at Tales of the Cocktail.

The Monteleone was first christened in 1886, when Antonio Monteleone purchased a 64-room hotel on the corner of Bienville and Royal streets in the heart of the French Quarter, a section dubbed by French Colonials “the Vieux Carré.” An industrious Sicilian nobleman who operated a successful shoe factory in his home country, Monteleone moved to New Orleans to seek his fortune in the 1880s. His hotel grew and expanded via five major additions over the years and has always been a jewel of the French Quarter. After four generations, it’s still family owned and operated.

Within the hotel is the famous Carousel Bar, a gilded, rotating bar fashioned to look like its namesake, and it literally never stops turning. Since opening 61 years ago, the Carousel Bar has played host to many famous authors and musicians. Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote warmed barstools there, as have musicians like Etta James and Gregg Allman.

LUPEC spends many a morning, noon and evening at the Carousel Bar during the Tales of the Cocktail festivities. Won’t you join us vicariously by mixing up one of these?

VIEUX CARRÉ

1 oz rye whiskey

1 oz cognac

1 oz sweet vermouth

1 tsp Bénédictine D.O.M.

2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

2 dashes angostura bitters

Mix all ingredients in a double Old Fashioned glass over ice; stir. Garnish with a lemon twist.

TALES OF THE COCKTAIL IS JULY 21st-25th IN NEW ORLEANS. FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT TALESOFTHECOCKTAIL.COM.

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*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston, originally published in The Weekly Dig.

We’ve barely broached the topic of tipping. Gratuity is a confusing issue, and we’d like to address the view from the other side of the bar.

The lore of tipping a dollar a drink

Once upon a time, a cocktail was sour mix and spirits and set you back $5. In those days, $1 per drink was a fair tip. But tipping 15 percent on your dinner is no longer enough, nor is tipping a buck for a $10 drink.

“If I open a $3 Bud for you, I don’t expect more than a dollar,” says Hanky Panky, a bartendrix at Drink. “When you tip me $1 on an $11 drink, that’s less than 10 percent.”

“Know how to figure it quickly and easily,” says Pinky Gonzales. “Ten percent of a $12 drink is 1.20, therefore, x 2 = $2.40 to make 20 percent. You can also make it easy on yourself and a little generous for the bartender and round up.”

“My general rule is $1 a drink or 20 percent, whichever is higher,” says Bourbon Belle. That’s easy to remember, no matter how many drinks you’ve had.

Craft counts

Anyone can pop open a brewsky, but bartending at a craft cocktail mecca is a different animal. Bartenders at the city’s finest watering holes spend days—even months—developing tinctures, bitters, syrups and shrubs for the perfect cocktail, or hand-carving a special ice formation to chill your Old Fashioned without watering it down. This extra love deserves a little extra love. And nothing says “I love you” like cash.

Be appreciative

If you roll into the bar at last call and order seven Blue Blazers, put yourself in your barman’s/barmaid’s shoes: You’re just about to log off your computer and go home when the boss rolls over to your desk. Remember that as your bartender tosses flaming hot whiskey between two mugs at 1:45am. Reward your server as you wish your boss would: with thanks. And cash.

If your bartender gives you something for free, a few bucks more than 20 percent is a small way to say thanks, and a small price to pay for the VIP treatment you’ve just received.

Bartending is a demanding job and pays about $6 an hour. Bartenders work long hours—12-14 hour days are commonplace—and the bulk of their salary depends entirely upon tips, which means it depends entirely on you. So tip generously and tip often.

Cin-cin!

TIP TOP PUNCH

1.5 oz brandy
0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
0.25 tsp sugar
0.5 oz Benedictine

Shake in an iced cocktail shaker and then strain over new ice in a tall glass. Top with champagne.

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I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch. Here it goes down, down into my belly…

-Ron Burgundy

So, this week’s Dig column focused on the lovely Laphroaig, the distinctly smoky, peaty scotches the famed Islay distillery produces,  and the female distiller who helmed the operation for a generation, Bessie Williamson.

For more smoky scotch tippling, here are a few scotch recipes the ladies of LUPEC curated for an upcoming event hosted by the Boston University Scotch Club in honor of the Women’s Law Association at BU Law. Knock one of these back in honor of lady lawyers, distillers, and scotch lovers everywhere.

Cin cin!

PRINCE EDWARD

In a mixing glass, filled with ice, add:

2 oz Scotch

.75 oz Lillet Blanc

.25 oz Drambuie

Stir to chill, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

BOBBY BURNS (Try with Highland Malt, then another with an Islay)

In a mixing glass, filled with ice, add:

2 oz Scotch

.75 oz Italian Vermouth

.25 oz Drambuie or Benedictine

1 dash Angostura bitters

Stir to chill, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

GENTLE JOHN

In a mixing glass, filled with ice, add:

2 oz Scotch

.5 oz French Vermouth

.25 oz Cointreau

1 dash Angostura bitters

Stir to chill, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

BLOOD & SAND

1 oz Scotch

1 oz OJ

.75 oz Cherry Heering

.75 oz Italian Vermouth

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

THE MAMIE TAYLOR COCKTAIL

1 oz Scotch

.5 oz lime juice

ginger ale

Fill a highball glass with ice. Add Scotch and lime juice and top with ginger ale.

BALVENIE ROB ROY (Also try with an Islay)

In a mixing glass, filled with ice, add:

2 oz Balvenie 12 year Scotch

.75 oz Italian Vermouth

2 dashes Angostura bitters

Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

LOCH KATRINE

A LUPEC Original, by Hanky Panky

2 oz Scotch

.5 oz Cointreau

.5 oz Lillet Blanc

muddled lavender

In a mixing glass, muddle lavender with Cointreau until fragrant. Fill with ice and add Scotch and Lillet

Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

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